*THE THEAKSTON'S OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021*
*WINNER OF THE CWA GOLD DAGGER FOR BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR*
*WINNER OF THE NED KELLY INTERNATIONAL AWARD*
A GUARDIAN BEST THRILLER OF THE YEAR
An EXPRESS BEST THRILLER OF THE YEAR
An i BEST THRILLER OF THE YEAR
A MIRROR BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A WATERSTONES THRILLER OF THE MONTH
READ THE BOOK EVERYONE IS CALLING A MASTERPIECE.
'A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters' JANE HARPER
'An accomplished and moving story of crime, punishment, love and redemption' GUARDIAN
For fans of Jane Harper's The Dry comes a powerful novel about the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.
How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT WE BEGIN AT THE END:
'Magnificent . . . an instant classic, a West Coast Where the Crawdads Sing . . . a special, vital novel. I'm grateful to have read it' A J FINN
'Surely destined to conquer the world' RUTH JONES
'A magnificent crime novel. It deserves to win a hatful of awards. A BIG hat. Consider me a major fan' MARK BILLINGHAM
'So beautifully written' LYNDA LA PLANTE
'Incredible writing, characters so brilliantly drawn they jump off the page. Outstanding' BA PARIS
'I LOVED this book . . . This is a book to be read and re-read and an author to be celebrated' LOUISE PENNY
'A stunning and heartbreaking book - will keep you gripped until the last moving page' CLAIRE MCGOWAN
'An exceptionally beautiful and accomplished crime novel' ALI LAND
'One of the best books I've ever read' FIONA CUMMINS
'An absolute masterclass in crime writing and story-telling' JO SPAIN
'One of the year's best crime reads' VASEEM KHAN
'One of my favourite books of all time' M. W. CRAVEN, winner of the CWA's Gold Dagger Award
'A masterpiece of storytelling with clever twists and an ending to knock you sideways' CANDIS MAGAZINE
'This heart-rending story . . . is among the most powerful and moving I have read in years' DAILY MAIL
'Cements Whitaker's status as one of the most talented authors writing today' HEAT MAGAZINE
'Masterly novel' SUNDAY EXPRESS
'A dark yet painfully human tale that is impossible to forget' CRIME MONTHLY
'Beautifully written and deeply moving' SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB
'A gorgeous, crystalline novel' JEANINE CUMMINS, author of AMERICAN DIRT
'Heartbreaking and profound, this is my thriller of the year' MIRROR
Set largely in 2005, this superb thriller from Whitaker (Tall Oaks) examines the repercussions of a fatal accident decades earlier on the residents of Cape Haven, a tourist town on the California coast. At 15, Vincent King was sent to a men's prison for hitting and killing seven-year-old Sissy Radley while joyriding. Now, 30 years later, Vincent is being released. His childhood friend, Walker—Cape Haven's police chief—hopes that Vincent, and the town, can finally begin healing. But soon after Vincent's return, Star Radley—a single mother and Sissy's older sister—is found murdered in her home. With Vincent as the prime suspect, Chief Walker and Duchess, Star's 13-year-old daughter and self-proclaimed outlaw, each launch their respective quests for the truth. Powered by extraordinarily deep character development and an impressively intricate plot, this novel is simultaneously a murder mystery, a love story, and a heartbreaking tragedy. The existential agony is palpable throughout, but so, too, is the hope at the end. Whitaker has upped his game with this emotionally charged page-turner.
A story that stays with you, after you have finished reading
Sometimes you just pick up a book that hits you hard, the characters stay with you, even after finishing the book. This is one of those books.
Initially I found the pace of this very slow going, losing concentration, but as I continued it just grabs you. Setting the atmosphere in a small American town, Cape Haven, California, a place that has seen better days, along with characters you really want to care about.
Duchess Radley a thirteen year old girl, she calls herself an outlaw, she is old beyond her years, acting as parent, to her younger brother Robin and career for her mother Star who is either drunk or drugged up most of the time, but who’s sister Sissy, was killed thirty years earlier. The man convicted of her killing Vincent King is released from prison, and has returned to his home town. But Duchess is not worried about King being released she is more concerned about another figure who looms over her mother’s troubled life, Darke.
Walker, more commonly known as Walk is the Chief of Police, he was also a childhood friend of King’s, he picks him up from prison, still not understanding what happened the night Sissy died. But Vincent doesn’t want to talk of the past. Walk wants to know the truth. He believes his friend is innocent, he takes the reader through past and present, investigating the case that all had thought was solved many years ago, but at the same time protecting and watching out for Star, Duchess and Robin. He is a believable, endearing character, dedicated, determined and commendable.
At times you forget that Duchess is only thirteen years old, she has had to deal with far too much for her young years, she is tough, brave, and spiky. But the actions of Duchess start a chain of events that lead to tragic consequences. With some unexpected twists at the end this is a brilliantly written story. Atmospheric and heartbreaking.
I would like to thank #netgalley and #Zaffre for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
A bit too slow for me....
Chris Whitaker’s latest novel “We Begin at the End” is his third novel, following his successes with “All the Wicked Girls” and “Tall Oaks”. This time his thriller is set in a small town called Cape Haven in California and features a rich, atmospheric narration and a deep, character driven theme.
Blurb - Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed. Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family
but also the whole town.
Foul mouthed, blunt and not frightened to offend, ‘outlaw’ Duchess Day Radley is arguably hard to like but as a mother myself, I totally endeared to her and truly felt her pain. Being a surrogate mother to her young brother and looking after her often drunk/drugged up mother must have been so hard for her and considering her young age herself did amazing well to make sure her brother was suitably cared for. The character that intrigued ,
me the most was Vincent King and I felt there could have been a bit more focus on him and his direct emotions.
Although this book is exceedingly descriptive which added to the already intense atmospheric location, it was perhaps a little too much for me and I found it dipped in places which caused my interest to wane. The plot is revealed very slowly which may not be to every readers liking and the twist in the tail is guessable if you can work out the logistics of it. A suitable ending created a well thought out denouement and conclusion to this interesting and emotional slow burn thriller, featuring fractured relationships, broken characters, love, loss and redemption.
2.5 stars purely due to the immense slowness of it.